Be Careful What You Wish For…

One of my clients been reading a lot lately about manifesting one’s desires with positive thinking.  In other words, “Ask, and the Universe shall give it to you.”

I do believe one can have a lot of success with this approach,  but I don’t think it’s the “Universe” per se,  giving you what you want.  There’s nothing magical or mystical about it.

When you have a clear goal in mind for yourself,  you are not distracted by the things that pull you away from that goal.   If your laser focus is on making lots of money,  you are probably going to be working longer hours;  enjoying  less recreational time;   perhaps not “wasting” money on “frivolous” things but rather pumping it all back into your endeavor.

Likewise, if all you want is to get married,  it is unlikely that you will “waste your time” on “unsuitable” dates who don’t meet your “criteria.”

You will notice I have used a lot of quotes in the above paragraphs on what I would consider subjective terms.  Let me explain further…

Too often,  we think we want one thing, but in reality, that object of desire merely represents what we actually want.    For example, when I work with singles, one of the most common goals I hear from women is “I want to get married.”

As a specific objective,  this can lead to big mistakes that may negatively impact the rest of their lives.  Before taking laser aim at this target,  I ask them to question their actual motivations.  What does marriage represent to them?  For a lot of women,  it’s all about the big, fairy tale wedding with them as Queen for the Day.  Their goal is the party where they are the center of attention, NOT the marriage itself.

For some women,  marriage represents a public acknowledgement that they are worthwhile; that someone values them enough to marry them.  For others, it’s about security and being taken care of.   For some, it’s about having a father for the child(ren) they want.

I don’t believe any of these are reason alone for getting married.  For any relationship to be happy and healthy, it is imperative that we enter it knowing first how to take care and value ourselves.  Marriage should be about mutual support and friendship; with a deep respect of each others’ goals.  To enter marriage with a need for validation is a sure recipe for failure.   Want to be the center of attention at a party? Well, then throw yourself a huge bash,  but never mistake a wedding for a marriage.  A wedding is over in a few hours;  a marriage, if you’re lucky,  lasts the rest of your life.

Likewise,  people often chase money, fame and/or success because they need outside validation.  Validation for one’s worth only has meaning when it comes from within.  I so often meet outwardly successful people who are terribly insecure within; what drives their success is their deeply rooted need for the validation of others.

Let’s go back to that earlier paragraph, with all the quotation marks.  Generally speaking,  if you ask people why they want to achieve a certain goal or possess a specific thing,  at the root of the answer is, “I believe this will make me happy.”    Often people will pursue these goals with amazing single-mindedness. Worse, they beat themselves up if they cannot  achieve them.   People rarely give much consideration to what will truly make them happy.  In fact, few people spend any time at all even thinking about what happiness really is.

For many people,  “happiness” is some imagined state in the future that will occur when certain conditions have been met. (i.e. marriage, the great job,  success in their field,  fame,  certain goals achieved or bad things eliminated, etc.)

Studies after study has shown that achieving goals does not bring happiness, because there is always another goal, and another, and another.  Happiness is rather a state of mind.  Happy people have a certain skill set that allows them to be happy under almost any circumstance.

Happiness is the equilibrium that allows you to process your life in a positive, healthy way.   It is knowing how to ride the wave of emotion instead of drowning in it.  It is the confidence of knowing you can roll without breaking.  It is the appreciation of the lessons in the journey.  It is the ability to find joy in small, seemingly insignificant things.

Happiness is not the absence of sadness but rather the understanding that life is full of sadness which will not kill you. In fact, it will bring you deeper understanding, which in turn, will make you more content.

As the Buddhists say, “Life is pain; suffering is optional.”   In other words,  pain is what life gives you; suffering is what you do to yourself.

 

© 2011 Adrienne E. Gusoff    http://www.artofepiphany.com   all rights reserved

Change Your View, Change Your Life

I’ve always been interested in the deep, inner, complex  emotional lives of my fellow  human beings.   I love to understand what makes people tick — their motivations, fears, insecurities,  dreams, goals — and I think I’m pretty good at it.   Friends have always come to me for advice.  Even people who I’ve only just met tend to pour out their hearts to me.

 I take  genuine joy in helping others find more resourceful ways to solve their problems and resolve their issues.  I hope you will be inspired to positive change through my blog and website.

A little about me:   I am a life coach based in NYC.  I have both a private practice and am a motivational speaker to both large and small groups.   I am also a  freelance writer,  lecturer, humorist,  certified NLP and EFT practitioner, and  licensed hypnotist.   I have  written advice columns for international magazines and various websites, and have been the relationship expert for  Klugertown, a talk radio show based in Phoenix, AZ.

I welcome you to visit my website,  www.artofepiphany.com and invite you to submit questions for my Advice section or offer suggestions for topics.  Personal consultations are,  of course,  also available.